Saturday, February 6, 2010

Questions and Answers: Starring Brian from Orange 44

With the #3 ranked Syracuse Orange making the trip to 5/3 Arena to play the Bearcats tomorrow, Brian at Orange 44 and I thought it would be a great idea to ask each other some questions about the teams. I answered Brian's questions on his amazingly amazing blog right here.

(Pictured: Not Brian, although this is the average Syracuse fan. I kid Orange fans)

Bearcats Blog: Besides my pick for BE Player of the Year Wesley Johnson, who should we look out for on Syracuse?
Orange44: Lately you have to watch out for Kris Joseph. He has been sensational off the bench for Syracuse, including earning a career high 23 points against Providence on Tuesday. He, much like Johnson, can dunk the ball hard, and has the moves to take someone on the baseline. If Cincinnati fails to take him seriously, Joseph will get some easy buckets in the paint for the Orange.

BB: How does this SU team stack up to recent years?
O44: I hate to compare, especially this early in the season, but this team is the best team since the 2003 National Champion Syracuse team. They have inside and outside play, a bona fide star in Wes Johnson, good guards, and players that can score off the bench. The real improvement from last season has been on defense. With longer and bigger players in the famous 2-3 Zone, Syracuse is leading the league in steals and holding opponents to 64.6ppg. This, my friends, is a team that could go the distance.

BB: What type of team does Syracuse struggle with?
Teams that like to slow the pace of the game and play a half court offense. If teams take most of the time on the shot clock per possession and manage to score, this obviously helps limit Syracuse's possessions and could cause Syracuse to get out of their run-and-gun type of offense. We saw this kind of team at DePaul and Syracuse was down 18 points in the first half before coming back to win. Syracuse is brilliant in transition, so if you force Syracuse to take the ball out every time by scoring, you can limit a lot of easy buckets for the Orange. Additionally, any good three point shooting team has a chance against a team that plays the zone, but that hasn't seemed to help any teams this year so far.

BB: Are you going to take a chainsaw the the next analyst who brings up the LeMoyne game?
O44: Haha it's a formula that any analyst uses to call a game. They have to bring that up for some reason. The game didn't count, and frankly I didn't much care when it happened. If anything, I was happy for LeMoyne. Boeheim never takes scrimmages seriously in that he uses various defenses and plays and lineups he rarely tries in actual games. Can we all agree to just move on, seeing as Syracuse is well passed it?

BB: Follow up: Has that game made you worried of facing a lower seed come March Madness? I know it was an exhibition game, but has it planted some little seeds of doubt?
O44: None. Like I said earlier, Syracuse was playing defenses and schemes that they would never try in an actual game at this point. If Syracuse plays determined and uses it's strengths like they have been so far this season, lower seeds might give them a game, but I think it will be a big time team that eventually puts Syracuse to rest. Of course this is all premature talk. I'd just like to get out of the regular season first.

Thanks to Brian at Orange44 for the great answers. Just so you know, I asked the last question because I know that some people are going to have Syracuse going down early in March because of that. Especially the people who want a 16 to beat a 1, which Syracuse potentially is. Enough inside baseball, whatever that means, the Know Your Opponent will be up tonight, and if it's not, it will be up in the AM.

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